AL ASAD, Iraq -- Combat operations in Iraq continue as the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) resumes security and stability operations in the Al Anbar province. To maintain operational tempo it is vital that supply routes remain open, and logistical air and ground support stay at peak efficiency.
The Marines and sailors of Combat Logistics Battalion 2 are committed to the Global War on Terrorism and provide a multitude of daily services to the fixed and rotary wing aircraft flying missions in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from Al Asad, Iraq.
"We support the Wing in two major areas," said Lt. Col. Kyle J. Nickel, CLB-2 executive officer and native of Bay City, Mich. "The aviation combat element is naturally self-sufficient, but we help by providing intermediate ground maintenance and engineering support."
Here at Al Asad, the Marines and sailors of CLB-2 mainly support the wing through two major roles. First they ensure the network of fuel lines, pumps and holding bladders are maintained and operational in order to support air operations and ground vehicles, and second, provide logistical support at the arrival and departure point, where everything from troops to gear flow in and out.
"We sample and test all the fuel that comes through here before it is pumped out to the various fuel farms where we store fuel," said Cpl. Robinette M. Roxburgh, bulk fuel specialist and native of Salt Lake City. "Our Marines are great, when they get a mission, it's done."
Since their arrival here on Feb. 19, the fuels Marines have been hard at work, redesigning fuel storage areas for the 1.5 million gallons of fuel stored here on a daily basis. They replace worn fuel lines, and pump up to 200,000 gallons of jet fuel per day to support flight operations.
The engineers and material handling equipment operated by CLB-2 Marines helps ensure troops, equipment, vehicles and supplies are loaded and unloaded at the arrival and departure point.
"We work hand in glove with the Marines of the airfield liaison element to load and offload the planes and take accountability of the passengers and gear," said Maj. Mark A. Brennan, operations officer and native of Walnut, Ill. "As those ground maintenance supplies are brought here, we have our hands on them to distribute them to all the units in the wing."
In addition to their efforts at the fuel storage area and arrival and departure point, almost every service provided here has CLB-2 Marines and sailors behind it. From postal services and medical care, to disbursing and mortuary affairs, the support from the logistics battalion improves the quality of life for all servicemembers and Department of Defense employees here.
"We have roughly 200 different military occupational specialties across the broad spectrum of operations," Brennan said. "Our job is to support the warfighter, and truly we want to do everything we can to provide the best combat logistics as far forward as possible."
Not only is the battalion supporting the air base, the Marines and sailors are responsible for running convoys that distributes food, water and supplies to the forward operating bases in the Al Anbar.
"We already have a lot of miles under our belts," said Cpl. Benjamin P. Burns, loadmaster and native of Henderson, Nev. "We are busy everyday. If we aren't on the road, we are performing maintenance. If we aren't doing maintenance we are planning and preparing for our next convoy."
With some convoys traveling up to 500 miles round trip, the Marines of the battalion's transportation company are overcoming mines, improvised explosive devices and horrible road conditions to ensure servicemembers at the remote posts have the essentials.
"These Marines drive into the face of danger everyday," Nickel said. "In light of that, they get the mission accomplished."
"The motivation of these Marines and sailors is remarkable," Brennan said. "They honestly care about what they are doing because they know the importance of their tasks. A lot of people depend on them, and they always come through."